Why Do I Tell So Many Stories About Dead People?

People ask why I tell so many stories about dead people. I realize that in excavating my past, I uncover stories about those I’ve loved, even those I didn’t know but who were loved by the people I love. I have a story about my grandmother, Cornelia, who died when my mother was ten. I didn’t know her but my mother did and grieved all her life over the loss of her mother.

I tell stories about the dead people because they live in my memory. I think of them every day. They’re no longer physically here but they live in my stories.

Through my stories, I am connected to them, all of them: Mama, Daddy, my brother Sonny, Lelia Butcher, her sister Lousie, my grandmother Nanny Kirk, Virgie, Bill, Cornelia, Obediah, ….. the list grows longer.

Last night I listened to an interview with Krista Tippet and Pauline Boss. Dr. Boss, a psychologist, believes there’s no such thing as ‘closure’ when it comes to connections between people. Nor should there be. Dr. Boss said, ‘keeping deceased loved ones in your heart and mind, like a sword of psychological family, can be rich in meaning.’

She goes on to articulate what is true for me: ‘Once you have had an attachment, you cannot cut it off entirely. It is part of your being. It is part of who you are.’

This is why.